Woke up at 5:55 and it was bucketing down. By the time I painfully typed out the text to Meg's little co-walker's mum that I would drive them to school it had stopped. By the time I had read her no, no, no I'll do it mail it was pouring again.
By the time I got Meg into her wet weather gear and boots with all her gear (school bag, umbrella, water bottle) under that and opened the front door it had stopped raining and she kept little H's mum waiting as she determinedly shucked her jacket off and strode purposefully out the door calling back at me "You lied! It's NOT raining!!"
The morning was spent listening to the half hourly reminders to conserve water and clearing the yard. In the rain. All the news reports were saying the typhoon was heading straight for us so I checked some typhoon sites on the net and it said you should secure or pack up anything that might get caught up in the storm and cause damage.
Geee.... things like the bicycles, scooters, lawn chairs, plant pots, bbqs, watering cans, stilts, washing poles and the like? Sheesh.... So I put on my Drizabone coat and knee high gumboots and set to cleaning everything up.
Then I remembered that the chook cage roofing wasn't all nailed down. Some of the tin was just set up there with rocks on top. Just as I was toing and froing on what to do about that one the outside PA kicked in:
"This is Azusagawa Branch Office. Typhoon 15 is approaching. Please secure all agricultural materials including greenhouses. Please remember you will be responsible for any damage caused by your property."
Guess I'm going to nail that tin down then... Every typhoon there are two things you can almost guarantee you will hear on the news: someone climbed on their roof to dislodge debris/ unblock gutters/ secure something and fell and died and someone went down to check their rice paddy and drowned/ was washed away in the culvert. So, climbing up on the rickety and recycled chook house which is at the far end of our property a very big holler from any neighbours was just about the stupidest thing I could think of to do. But then if a piece of tin flew somewhere and damaged someone's house or injured someone?? I came to a compromise and just nailed the edges I could do from the ground. It's the thought that counts, right?
I was just doing the final check of the property and looking forward to a coffee when my phone rang. It was the school. Agghhhhhhhh!!! What's happened to Meg???
Ran inside to answer (not sure how waterproof the phone is) and it was Meg's class teacher.
Thanking me for the nice note I wrote about Sport's Day.
Huh??? Shouldn't he be in class????
By the way- the kids are getting out at 12:30 today because of the typhoon. You wrote that Meg is walking today. Will you be able to collect her at 12:30 instead or do you want her to go to after school care?
After explaining that I had arranged with Meg to meet her at the school carpark and take her home anyway he thanked me again for my comments on Sport's Day, told me where to buy the new maths workbook Meg needs and hung up. All in all a rather bizarre call!
Changed clothes and went down to get Meg.
I found out from Meg how the operation went. The principal decided school would finish at 12:30 and ordered school buses to arrive then. A letter was drafted to be taken home explaining the decision. The students were set to silent reading and the teachers called to the staff room where every household was contacted regarding what to do with their kids. The after school centre was opened two hours early for kids going there. Kids not registered at the centre and/ or whose parents couldn't be contacted had supervised free play in the gym (active kids?) and the library (quieter ones?) Teachers then passed on information about younger brothers/ sisters to their respective class teachers and all non bus/ gym/ library/ after school care students and teachers congregated in the school courtyard waiting for their parents.
Up till here it was a really smooth operation and I was pretty impressed.
Well remember it was bucketing down?
And windy to boot?
And there are 860 odd kids at Meg's school?
This is what the school looked like 5 minutes before pickup time:
All those cars are parked. Their owners are the parents with the umbrellas on the left. Just next to the yellow sign? One of the school busses. It was honking up a storm as the road was impassable. All the roads around the school looked like that.
I met H's mum and the fireman who lives in our neighbourhood down there (coincidentally he's the one with the flattened rice next to our rice). I had passed the fireman standing in the rain with his hazard lights on talking to another neighbour half way down our hill. It was in a little dip and I immediately thought 'Oh no! Flooding!' Seems H's mum thought the same thing. Mr N laughed and said no. He'd been helping out the neighbour who had got a nail in her tire. Poor woman. Crap weather to be changing a tire in!
Anyway grabbed Meg and headed home again. She was miffed as she only had two days of school this week anyway and now she was down to 1 1/2. Driving home with the wipers on full and still not really seeing very well I decided I wanted to see the rice paddy (giving me a two out of two for stupid typhoon behaviour) but you know, the culverts here are so narrow I really think even a skinny old farmer guy would have trouble getting washed away- let alone me! Met co-farmer K there dripping wet and clearing the culverts. Poor guy. I offered to help but he was finished. He had opened the water gates up completely to fill the paddy. This increases the percentage of the rice that's under water so it is more stable and less likely to fall over. I agreed to come back in an hour and turn the water off again.
Got home and started typhoon proofing the house on the inside now. I closed all the window screens so that if the windows did break hopefully the glass would be caught by the screens before they inevitably popped out of their grooves. Filled the bath, filled some bottles of water, lit the fire, made sure all our torches were all working (we have torches everywhere thanks to K's fatalistic attitude towards disasters) filled the coffee pot and charged my phone and computer. If I have to sit through a typhoon without power I am going to want coffee and online scrabble, right?
Back out to the rice paddy with Meg grumbling in the back seat that we've already been out to the rice paddy and she wants to do origami. It was only a 5 minute trip and you now she survived quite well.
Got back and it had stopped raining again. Bizarre.
They repeated the call to secure your agricultural materials. This reassured me as the next level of warning is to stop all agricultural activities and get inside to safety so if we weren't getting that notice then we were still OK.
Went out to get Amy and the kinder was a pool:
Grabbed Amy and raced home. The news was saying the trains were all stopped and the highway was on speed restrictions in some areas and closed in others. I was quite relieved as I thought K would cancel his business trip to Osaka.
He came home, changed, grabbed four cans of coffee and a road atlas, took the packed dinner the girls and I made with a big sloppy grin on his face (first time the girls have made daddy's lunch box) and went out into the dark and the rain and the typhoon. Silly idiot.
The phone tree went around saying that they couldn't guarantee there would be water for school lunch the next day so please get your kid to bring a packed lunch and a drink bottle of water.
Sheesh! A make a lunch box directive at 7pm???? This isn't Australia. We're not talking about a vegemite and cheese sandwich and an apple. Nooooo, we need cute and fiddly and I really didn't want to go to the supermarket at this time of night. In a typhoon. When it would probably be crowded with all the other parents from the school anyway. Oh well. Meg will have to make do with what we have here. Apples and grapes and rice. It's almost healthy.
I stayed up until I got the message that K had arrived safely and was going out drinking with guys stuck in the office there. Glad you're ok, honey.
And that was pretty much it for typhoon day here. Bit of a non-event compared to so many other areas but it was still really scary for wimpy little me!
Here's hoping that is the last one for the season and heck, the last disaster for Japan for a good long while thanks!